The Buffalo Beauts rang in the New Year with an important matchup against the first place Boston Pride. The Beauts came into the game 1-1 in the season series with Boston, and needed badly to emerge with two points in order to keep pace with the top team.
The Pride entered the tilt with the most goals in the league; Buffalo the fewest against. Children filled the stands to celebrate Kids’ Day, and were treated to a fantastic game of hockey. Buffalo has appeared to have solved its power play and depth scoring issues, having outscored opponents 9-0 in the last two games, including this afternoon’s 5-0 win.
The first period was an action-packed 20 minutes of back-and-forth action. Both teams put their strength and speed in full display, and both goaltenders were called upon to make some incredible saves. Shannon Szabados made 10 in the first; three of which seemed impossible. Katie Burt was equally stallworth at the other end, saving all 19 Buffalo shots. The teams battled to a 0-0 tie into the intermission.
As exciting as the first period was, it couldn’t hold a candle to the second. At 3:26, defender Emily Pfalzer committed a check from behind, resulting in a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct. The Pride’s power play gave Buffalo a worrying five minutes, but the Beauts were able to stave off the pressure.
Kelly Babstock finally opened the scoring at 14:29 in the second period, when Blake Bolden chipped a pass up the boards onto the stick of Babstock. The Boston defender pushed Babstock to the outside, but the wily center got Burt moving and deftly tucked the puck behind the sliding netminder.
Minutes later, another strong Babstock play gave the power play its second goal in as many games. A diving play pushed the puck to the boards and as Babstock slid, she popped to one knee, intercepting the clearing attempt and dropping the puck to her stick. A quick flick of the wrist and Emily Janiga was alone on Burt. She made no mistake and Buffalo took a 2-0 lead into the third period.
There was no reason for Boston to lack confidence coming into final frame. The Pride had outscored opponents 18-3 in the third this season, and had demonstrated the ability to control the play in flashes throughout the matchup. It would have been easy for the short-benched Beauts to begin to unravel, but they remained steadfast, hanging three on Boston and chasing Burt with 11:55 left in the game.
Savannah Harmon potted her second of the year when Burt came nearly to the blue line to play a puck. She misjudged the speed of the Buffalo attack and attempted to cover, but a bouncing puck came loose to Harmon with a wide open net. Buffalo’s top line was not going to be left out, and Dani Cameranesi scored two straight to give the Beauts a second consecutive, impressive win.
The team will face the Metropolitan Riveters on Saturday. It’s important that the Beauts continue this streak if they hope to continue to gain ground on Boston, who now holds only a two point lead on the Beauts in the race to first place.
Final: Beauts 5, Pride 0
Shots on goal Beauts 41 | Pride 30
Beauts Goals: Kelly Babstock (1), Emily Janiga (1), Savannah Harmon (1), Dani Cameranesi (2)
Pride Goals: None
Three stars of the game
- Kelly Babstock (1G, 1A)
- Shannon Szabados (30 saves on 30 shots)
- Dani Cameranesi (2G)